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|Ocasio-Cortez throws her support to Bernie Sanders ||Score picks, bold predictions and fantasy tips for every Week 3 NFL game |
At a rally Saturday in Queens, N.Y., Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez made her endorsement of Sen. Bernie Sanders for president official.
| What to watch for in every game. Bold predictions. Fantasy advice. Key stats to know. And, of course, score predictions. It's all here for Week 3. |
|Justice Department Distances Itself From Giuliani ||Belichick cuts presser short after AB questions |
The Justice Department distanced itself Sunday from Rudy Giuliani, President Donald Trump's personal lawyer, declaring that department officials would not have met with Giuliani to discuss one of his clients had they known that federal prosecutors in New York were investigating two of his associates.Several weeks ago, Brian A. Benczkowski, the head of the Justice Department's Criminal Division, and lawyers from the division's Fraud Section met with Giuliani to discuss a bribery case in which he and other attorneys were representing the defendants.That meeting took place before the U.S. attorney's office in Manhattan publicly charged the two Giuliani associates, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, with breaking campaign finance laws and trying to unlawfully influence politicians, including former Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas. Parnas and Fruman were part of Giuliani's effort to push Ukraine for an inquiry into Democrats."When Mr. Benczkowski and fraud section lawyers met with Mr. Giuliani, they were not aware of any investigation of Mr. Giuliani's associates in the Southern District of New York and would not have met with him had they known," said Peter Carr, a department spokesman.The Justice Department's public statement Sunday illustrates the unusual and broad set of roles that the president's personal lawyer has played in the scandal that has engulfed the White House and imperiled Trump's presidency.Even as Giuliani ran a shadow foreign policy campaign to pressure Ukraine to investigate the president's political enemies -- which is now at the heart of an impeachment inquiry against Trump -- he and his business associates were under criminal investigation for unlawfully wielding political influence. And while all of this was happening, Giuliani still served as a lawyer to clients with cases to plead before the Justice Department.In distancing itself from Giuliani and trying to draw bright lines around how the Justice Department will and will not engage with him, the department has also undercut the perception that Giuliani can influence some of Washington's most important lawyers and decision-makers. That could make it harder for Giuliani to represent clients who are under Justice Department scrutiny in the future."This is an incredibly unusual statement from the Justice Department, which does not comment on ongoing investigations or even acknowledge them, and it's the kind of statement that would give clients pause about who is representing them," said Joyce Vance, a former federal prosecutor.Giuliani did not respond to a request for comment.While the Southern District of New York has been investigating Giuliani's associates -- an inquiry that may be tied to a broader investigation of Giuliani himself -- prosecutors there had not told Benczkowski of the Criminal Division of the case, as he does not oversee or supervise their work. The U.S. attorney's offices report to the deputy attorney general, Jeffrey A. Rosen.Prosecutors in Manhattan informed Attorney General William Barr about the investigation of Parnas and Fruman soon after he was confirmed in February, according to a Justice Department official. They were required to do so under the department's rule that requires prosecutors to notify the attorney general of any cases that could generate national news media or congressional attention.When Giuliani and other lawyers requested the meeting with the Justice Department to discuss a foreign bribery case, Benczkowski and the lawyers in the Fraud Section had not been informed of the Manhattan case and agreed to meet.Last week, Giuliani told The New York Times that he was being unfairly attacked by reporters and lawmakers and that questions about his behavior would "destroy" his business."I can't publicly defend everything I do because I'm presumed guilty," Giuliani said in a text message. "If I did, my business and firm would be unable to have any clients."Foreign business leaders and politicians have long hired those with ties to the White House as consultants, paid back channels to the administration who could plead their cases and present their interests to U.S. decision-makers.Trump, however, was not connected to the usual array of Washington power brokers who had built lucrative businesses off their ties to U.S. leaders, and Giuliani was perceived as the rare figure who could provide a direct line to the president.Now that tie to the Justice Department seems to be gone, and Giuliani himself is a person of interest in at least two federal investigations.While The Times and other publications have reported that Giuliani is being investigated by prosecutors in Manhattan, the Justice Department and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York have declined to confirm or deny an investigation into him. But any such inquiry would make it difficult for the department to work with him on any of his clients' cases."Giuliani can continue to represent clients before the department because people are innocent until proven guilty, but it's unclear whether a client would want to have a lawyer who is being scrutinized in so many investigations," Vance said.This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2019 The New York Times Company
| Patriots coach Bill Belichick's patience ran thin. He walked off after fielding seven questions about Antonio Brown's off-the-field issues. "I'm good," he said. "Thank you." |
|Trump Cheated (Shocker!) on Property Tax; But Will Anyone Go to Jail? ||Sources: Yanks' German won't pitch again in '19 |
Chip SomodevillaProPublica published a piece Wednesday that put the spotlight once again on some questionable financial practices of the Trump Organization, which showed one set of books to banks (inflating value) and another to New York City tax authorities (deflating value).Is this just the usual Trump mendacity, or can prosecutors see this as part of a pattern? And if so, could it be prosecuted? Who would be tagged as the defendant(s)? If not, what more is needed to bring the guilty parties to justice?Before we explore these questions, let’s look at the facts. Both versions of them.ProPublica obtained property tax docs for four Trump properties. These docs became public when Trump appealed the tax bills, and the loan records became public when Trump’s lenders sold the debt on the properties. Significant discrepancies were unearthed between the tax records and loan records for two of the properties: Trump International Hotel & Tower, on Central Park West, and 40 Wall St.Tax and loan documents for 40 Wall St. showed significant discrepancies in how certain costs such as insurance were reported. Further, Trump representatives reported different occupancy rates to lenders and tax officials: 81 percent to lenders (rising later to 95 percent), and just 59 percent to tax authorities. Rising occupancy rates are valued by lenders because they are indicative of rising income level which is material to securing refinancing, while lower rates, of course, mean lower taxes.Meanwhile, documents for the Trump International Hotel & Tower showed that city tax officials were advised that this property made about $822,000 in 2017 from renting space in the building to other businesses, while loan officials were told that the building made about $1.67 million. ProPublica further notes that Trump appeared not to report income from leasing space for television antennas on tax documents but did report the income on loan docs.Each of the above-noted discrepancies is indicative of potential fraud. But do they represent instances of a prosecutable case?The short answer is: not yet. The discrepancies do reflect a situational ethics approach toward financial obligations and responsibilities. But more evidence will be needed to prosecute anyone should criminal prosecution be considered by the authorities.Who might be prosecuted here? It is unclear just who is responsible for submitting the doctored financial statements to the lending authorities and tax officials. Were the folks who submitted the documents the same folks who prepared them? If so, what were their marching orders? Who directed the Trump Organization officials to tailor the financial statements to minimize property taxes or maximize occupancy rates to obtain loans?Investigators need to home in on the work papers prepared to support the finagled financial statements in order to determine “willful intent,” or “mens rea” that James Comey so infamously referenced. Such evidence may well be found at Mazars USA—the Trump Organization accounting firm that is the subject of intensive litigation with regard to subpoenas served by both the U.S. Congress and the Manhattan DA’s office.Accountant work papers have been found to be beneficial when uncovering evidence of intent to defraud in case after case of white-collar fraud, specifically tax fraud. In fact, accountant work files and testimony provided critical evidence leading to the conviction of Paul Manafort in the Mueller investigations and prosecutions. It should be noted that tax fraud, bank fraud, and the falsification of business records may result in felony charges that could be contemplated by the Manhattan DA and provide for prison sentences that could lead the convicted defendants to land in Rikers Island for a stretch with the aforementioned Manafort. Evidence of corrupt intent to defraud either a financial institution or a public tax authority is critical to a successful criminal prosecution. The use of a double or triple set of books and records by company officials for fraudulent purposes is a terrific example of overt acts of corrupt intent. But further evidence will be needed here to link all those involved in each of the instances denoted above. Email, texts, voice mail, notes to the file and other evidence of directions to finagle the financial docs are needed. Further forensic analysis of the documents, for example fingerprint analysis, ink chemistry analysis and handwriting analysis are investigative tools available to the prosecutors to tighten the vise and provide the links in the chain of potential targets.Cohen was reportedly debriefed in detail recently by the Manhattan DA’s office. His testimony will be needed to outline just who in the Trump Organization was responsible for the preparation of the questionable documents referenced above. Cohen’s credibility will clearly be attacked in court by the defendant(s) and will become a question for the jury to grapple with. Cohen provided the Southern District of New York with a prosecutive path for those responsible for cooking the books at the Trump Organization with regard to the reimbursement of “hush money” payments to Cohen. That path is now available to the Manhattan DA. Add Cohen’s now corroborated congressional testimony outlining the transactional financial ethics referenced above, used by the Trump team in their shady business dealings and the jury will likely be sitting on the edge of their seats. All the DA needs to do now is fill in some blanks in combination with demonstrating a pattern of fraud over time—the closing argument is shaping up to be very persuasive.The allegation that the Trump Organization appeared not to report income from leasing space for television antennas to tax authorities but did report the income on loan docs revives memories of the landmark New York Times tax fraud series on Fred Trump and Donald Trump’s financial shenanigans in the ’90s wherein the Times detailed multiple instances of unreported income streams tailored by Fred Trump for the Donald. While the statute of limitations has long expired with regard to the multi-million dollar gift tax evasion schemes entered into by Donald Trump, prosecutors can use evidence of historical frauds to depict a pattern of fraudulent conduct on the part of a defendant no matter how long ago the fraud occurred. It goes to willfulness or corrupt intent exhibited by Individual-1.The Manhattan DA’s case against the Trump Organization may appear to be on its surface just a mundane business fraud type of case. But fraudulent documents don’t change stories, particularly when there are witnesses available to tie the documents and the corrupt intent together. Add the historical pattern of fraud engaged in by Individual-1 and the Manhattan DA’s case appears to be silently moving along like a stealth nuclear submarine under the radar and there are no available defenses available like an Office of Legal Counsel opinion to protect the prospective defendants from a potentially lethal prosecutorial attack.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
| Right-hander Domingo German will miss both the rest of the regular season and the postseason following his placement on administrative leave, sources told ESPN's Buster Olney. |
|Michigan Farmers Suffered a Massive Apple and Pumpkin Heist, Losing Thousands of Dollars in Produce ||Flame out: NFL field pyrotechnics get brief ban |
"This was not a one man job"
| The NFL has placed a temporary ban on all flame effects and pyrotechnics used on its playing fields as it investigates a fire at the Tennessee Titans' Nissan Stadium in Week 2. |
|South Korean prosecutors seek arrest of ex-minister's wife ||DC floats Lamar-Mahomes as next Peyton-Brady |
Prosecutors said Monday they are seeking to arrest the wife of South Korea's former justice minister, who resigned last week amid allegations of financial crimes and academic fraud surrounding his family that sparked huge protests and dented the popularity of President Moon Jae-in. The Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office said it requested an arrest warrant for Chung Kyung-shim over her suspected involvement in dubious private equity investments, attempts to destroy evidence, and creating fake credentials to help her daughter get into medical school.
| Ravens defensive coordinator Don "Wink" Martindale is looking forward to Sunday's showdown between Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes, saying it could be sports' next great rivalry, a la Tom Brady and Peyton Manning or Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier. |
Charleston Local News
Charleston Views and Opinions
The Importance of Free Press in a Democracy
Before we can understand the importance of a free press in a democracy, we need to grasp what it means to have a free press. The Cambridge Dictionary tells us that a free press allows all media outlets to express whatever opinions they desire. That means, it says, that they are enabled to â€œcriticize the government and other organizations.â€ So why would that be relevant in a democracy?
Unfair Questions or Democracy At Work ?
â€œCongress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.â€ -- The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
Why U.S. Engagement Policy Is The Correct One
Invariably, when one thinks of the efficacy of a nationâ€™s military, the mindâ€™s eye is drawn to the ability of that country to deliver a \"warhead onto the forehead\" of their enemies. Indeed, owing to the Pentagonâ€™s slick packaging of the First Gulf War, modern conflict, in the American mind, became synonymous with high-tech toys, grainy videos of successful missile shots, and a quick resolution of hostilities.
Capitalism and The Wealth Gap
When it comes to the efficient delivery of goods and services, capitalism is the proven economic model that puts people to work and products on the shelves. Whether those jobs end up paying enough money to purchase the items on those shelves is another matter, however.
Living Wages Are A Global Problem
The recent protests for an increased minimum wage are part of a larger global protest. The purpose is the same for low wage earners all over the world; increase wages to match the cost of living, and allow workers to form unions if desired and needed. The global protest has gained media attention all over the world, but critics claim that is the only accomplishment the movement will have.
Ukraine: Not What It Seems
After tense days of fighting this week, people in Ukraine are mourning the dead and celebrating the removal of President Victor Yanukovych from power. The final struggle that began on February 18, was the bloodiest endured by the protesters of Euromaidan. By February 22 the fighting was over.
Coup Or Civil War In Egypt
The day after new protests erupted in Egypt the military in a show of support presented an ultimatum to Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood-led government. Morsi was to step down from power and meet all of the demands of the Egyptian people, or face being removed by the military on Wednesday. As the ultimatum deadline draws closer in Egypt, Morsi refuses to leave, insisting that parliamentary elections are needed before he should be removed, and that he doesn't have permission from the United States to remove himself from power. Most recently he stated he will pay with his life to preserve the sanctity of the ballot box.